It’s a new year, it’s cold outside, and there are simply so.many.books I want to read. #2019 problems. I’ve already made quite a dent in my Q1 reading list, so I’m bringing you a combination of books I set out to read this winter that I’ve already blown through, and books that I am in the process of reading or am about to pick up. This was and is my early 2019 hit list, organized here for your reading inspiration and pleasure!
The Heart’s Invisible Furies – An epic sweeping tale that spans the lifetime of an Irish fellow named Cyril Avery, I could not put this story down and was so sad once the last page came to an end. This is the kind of novel that gives us a reason to read. It pulls at the heartstrings and creates empathy in beautiful and unexpected ways, and I have already recommended it to almost all of the people in my life.
Becoming – I wanted to love this memoir. There were absolutely parts that I found to be intriguing, and hilarious, and surprising, but the book simply went on too long. I think that a 75 page reduction (or so) would have been just what was needed to concentrate the message and storytelling into that sweet spot of narrative bliss. Definitely worth reading, but missing some of the sparkle that I had high expectations for.
American Spy – A little bit of a different tack for me, this tale of espionage during the Cold War is told from the perspective of a young female African American spy. The book is brand spankin’ new and is getting excellent reviews, plus it’s based on true events, so I was instantly intrigued on both counts. This is a March 2019 read for me.
Joyful – The subtitle of this book is “the surprising power of ordinary things to create extraordinary happiness,” which is a statement that I believe in wholeheartedly. I so thoroughly en-JOY-ed this tribute to all things in life that bring us joy. The author delves into the sociological, historical, and psychological impetuses around how and why we experience joy and what in the natural and manmade worlds bring us that feeling.
Dreamland – I’ve read quite a few books on trying to understand the opioid crisis (Pain Killer and Dopesick being two of them), but it wasn’t until I read Dreamland that I began to fathom the underlying connectivity of Oxy with the heroin epidemic in our country. This book ties together the Appalachian cities of our country with a tiny town in Nayarit, Mexico, where black tar heroin comes from. Even though it seems far away, this little town has had an indelible and unalterable affect on the drug landscape of our country, and we all ought to be paying attention.
My Brilliant Friend – After I heard a few friend mention “the Neapolitan series,” I had to do some investigating for myself. It turns out that My Brilliant Friend, the first in this three book series, was one of the most intriguing and well-written novels that I’ve ready in a long time. It starts out in 1950s Italy, outside of Naples to be exact, and traces the history of two friends growing up in this sheltered part of the world. It is both heartbreaking and beautiful and utterly relatable.
Cork Dork – Have you ever read a book in three days? For me, this happens when I am utterly absorbed and engrossed by what I’m reading, and it happened just last week with Cork Dork. It’s written from the perspective of a wine industry outsider who devotes herself to learning everything about wine – tasting, identifying, becoming a somm, the art of smelling itself, you name it. This 360-degree exploration is both educational, insanely hilarious, and makes me want to go crack open a bottle right now.
A Confederacy of Dunces – A masterful work with a cult following that I’ve been wanting to read for years… it’s finally time. Dunces tells the story of the larger-than-life Ignatius J. Reilly, a robust character in more ways than one. It’s also supposed to be a pretty incredible window into New Orleans life in the mid-20th century, and all of the quirks and characters that come along with it.